Saturday, 11 July 2020

The Red Army's Most Numerous SPG

The SU-12 was accepted into service with the Red Army on December 2nd, 1942. It was a good design with a fatal flaw: the parallel placement of its engines. This layout was the SPG's Achilles' heel. The amount of defects linked to the engine and transmission was very high. Many SU-12s never made it to the front lines. The flawed components had to be drastically redesigned. This is how the SU-15 was born, better known as the SU-76M. This was the Red Army's second most numerous AFV, beaten only by the T-34. This article covers the development and mass production of the SU-76M from the summer of 1943 to the spring of 1945.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Big Chungus

The final report covering the history of development at the Uralmash factory during the Great Patriotic War dwells little on their failures, but at least mentions them briefly.


This was an SPG project armed with a B-4 howitzer, the largest in caliber that was ever prepared by the Uralmash factory for installation in an SPG. The design was completed in the spring of 1942.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020


The further down the chain of command you go, the harder it is to find a good representation of battlefield events from both sides. It's an absolute rarity at the tactical level, which makes this episode grossgrisly found even more valuable.

From the history of the German 5th Tank Division:

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Buying Christies

"Report on the situation with Christie tanks in the USA
December 14th, 1931

I first visited Christie's workshop in early June of this year (after arriving from Detroit upon receipt of the first batch of components from Tikman). Subsequently, I met with Christie in his workshop monthly. I visited Christie several times in October before leaving for the USSR.

Situation with Christie's tank design:

When I first visited the workshop, Christie's design bureau composed of two men began to draw blueprints for the vehicle that is now in the USSR, as before this Christie only had assembly blueprints. These blueprints were being completed during my last visit before departure.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Warspot Article: Tiger Killers

A lot of post-war discussion of Tiger tanks revolved around how difficult they were to destroy and how thick their armour was. However, the reaction to the discovery of Tiger tanks wasn't anywhere as panicked as one might be led to believe. British specialists figured out pretty quickly that these new tanks could be destroyed with existing tank and anti-tank guns. Read how in my article on

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Video: Designing the T-34 Q&A

This is a slightly different type of video from the previous ones. Instead of focusing on just one topic for the whole duration, I answer various questions from readers of Designing the T-34. 

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Dead End on Wheels

The 1930s were a time of experiments in the field of armoured vehicles. Some of these experiments were successful, some not so much. Some tanks passed trials and were even accepted into service, but failed to enter mass production. For instance, the convertible drive T-29 tank was supposed to replace the T-28. It was accepted into service, but not mass produced for a variety of reasons. The T-46 was its comrade in sorrow. This tank was supposed to become the most numerous in the Red Army, but only four were built. That was the end, the idea of replacing the T-26 failed.

Friday, 3 July 2020


"Award Order
  1. Name: Stepanov, Konstantin Ivanovich
  2. Rank: Guards Junior Lieutenant 
  3. Position: Tank commander, 14th Guards Independent Motorcycle Battalion
    is nominated for the Order of the Red Banner.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Army Trials

"General Staff of the Worker and Peasant Red Army
February 17th, 1937

Commander of the Leningrad Military District, Army Commander 1st Class comrade Shaposhnikov
Chief of Ordnance and Technology Supply of the RKKA, Army Commander 2nd class comrade Khalepskiy
Chief of Artillery of the RKKA, Division Commander Rogovskiy
Chief of the Automobile and Armour Directorate of the RKKA, Division Commander comrade Bokis

The General Staff of the RKKA considers it necessary to create a battery consisting of the four SU-5 SPGs with 122 mm howitzers out of those assigned to the 11th Mechanized Brigade with all necessary support units and carry out large scale trials.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Christie's Payment

"June 15th, 1930

Directorate of Mechanization and Motorization

RE: Christie tanks

Amtorg informs us by telegraph that the Christie company reports 75% completion and thus requests a payment of 15,000 American dollars to be transferred to New York by the end of June.

Our inspector, comrade Lebedev, determined that the order is only 20% complete and informed the Christie company that we refuse to pay $15,000 until the vehicles are 75% complete.